Amy Mather is thirteen years old. She made a presentation at last week’s Raspberry Jamboree in Manchester, where she explains how she got into programming and why she loves it: “I wanted to make it do what I wanted it to do, not what the people working at Apple or Android wanted it to do”. Amy walks us through Conway’s Game of Life, which she ends up building…well, I won’t spoil it for you. Watch this one all the way through; it’s worth it.
In the week since the Jamboree, I think I’ve had more emails about Amy’s presentation than about anything else – people have wanted to know when the video will be ready (word about this excellent presentation spread very fast on Twitter), and to congratulate Amy.
I’m very struck by the number of different organisations that have been supporting Amy; Codecademy, Young Rewired State, the Raspberry Jams and Manchester Girl Geeks have all helped her on her journey. If you want to see more kids like Amy, there’s something you can do: support these organisations by volunteering or donating. We can’t expect schools to do it all for us; the wider engineering community has, we believe, a responsibility to give kids like Amy all the opportunities to learn she can get her crocodile clips on. The Raspberry Pi is all about putting opportunities in the way of kids, so they have a chance to discover, like Amy, something new that they can quickly become skilled at, and that they love doing.
Alan O’Donohoe, who organises the Jams with the energy of a toddler with a coffee machine, has blogged more about the day on the Raspberry Jams site. Well done Amy – and thanks Alan!